Formed in 1929, the Southernaires were a black gospel vocal quartet that found success via the radio, without making much of an impact in the area of phonograph record sales. The group consisted of tenor singer Homer Smith (b. 1902, Florence, Alabama, USA), second tenor Lowell Peters (b. 3 March 1903, Cleveland, Tennessee, USA), baritone Jay Stone Toney (b. September 1896, Columbia, Tennessee, USA) and bass singer/narrator William W. Edmunson (b. 15 October 1902, Spokane, Washington, USA). They made their first radio appearance in October 1930 in New York City and gradually established a large following for their regular programmes. In 1933 they added pianist Clarence Jones (b. c.1880s, Wilmingon, Ohio, USA) to the group. That year they started to perform in a dramatic radio series called The Little Weatherbeaten, Whitewashed Church, which lasted over 10 years and was syndicated nationwide. Although they recorded for Decca Records beginning in 1939, the recordings did not sell very well. Following World War II, the group shifted its emphasis from radio to concert appearances, with Ray Yeates replacing Smith. They briefly had their own television programme in 1948, and by 1951 only one original member, Edmunson, remained.